Showtime released a teaser of tonight's opening video montage for Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley. It's classic Showtime with the finely-tuned video slow motioned clips of powerful stirkes or fighters' visages. Nothing new there. What is interesting is how the Zuffa touch has, quite candidly, improved the product with minor additions.
First, there's the inclusion of the clip of Jake Shields as part of the trio of Ceser Gracie fighters who became Strikeforcr champions. The narrative is slightly false, but that's not the point. The point is that despite the contentious way in which Shields was released, showing footage of him doesn't promote the UFC at the expense of Strikeforce. It also visually helps solidifying the Cesar Gracie championship narrative.
Second, and this may seem minor, but I thought the brief clip of the 2006 meeting in PRIDE between Tatsuya Kawajiri and Gilbert Melendez was noteworthy. The clip was ever so brief, but the seemingly insignificant act of allowing viewers to see there is a shared and important history between the two is hugely beneficial.
This further gives me hope that in tonight's other video packages during the broadcast we'll get more access to Zuffa footage, the largest MMA library anywhere. This helps educate casual fans, set or amplify narrative and round out fighter identities.
MMA has long been fractured and splintered apart. There are positives and negatives to any economic arranagement, but it has to be said the Showtime product is steadily improving with access to Zuffa resources, albeit in tiny increments.